NU loses at home to Penn State: Final straw for Bill Carmody?

NU loses at home to Penn State: Final straw for Bill Carmody?

Last year Bruce Weber was dismissed from the Fighting Illini basketball program during the Big Ten Tournament, right after Illinois’ season ended. The same situation occurred two years prior with the Iowa Hawkeyes and Todd Lickliter at the Big Ten Tourney. Will we see the same thing with Bill Carmody and Northwestern this Big Ten Tournament?

NU losing 66-59 at home to Penn State might have been the final straw to break the camel’s back. This was the Wildcats’ 6th loss in a row, and dropped them to 13-17, 4-13 in the Big Ten. Losing to PSU is a really big deal; especially at home. Penn State was 0-17 on the road under Patrick Chambers entering this game. Yes, this was indeed his first road win at Penn State. And Chambers got the job because the guy before him, Ed DeChellis, left Penn State for Navy. Yes, he left PSU FOR NAVY, not vice versa.With the victory, Penn State improved to 11-9 all-time at Northwestern.

Do you know how many media members travel to cover the Nittany Lions on the road? Zero. Yes, that’s what PSU basketball truly is.

And that’s why this loss makes Carmody’s seat that much hotter. (Go here for the pros and cons of why Bill Carmody should or should not return for a 15th season at NU.)

Carmody was asked tonight if he was able to block out speculation about his job security.

“It’s on my mind, but I’ll talk with Jim (Phillips, NU Athletic Director) at the end of the Big Ten Tournament and we’ll go from there,” Carmody answered at the media session following tonight’s loss.

It was senior night at Welsh-Ryan, and senior guard Alex Marcotullio tallied a career high six three pointers and 22 points. Fellow Senior Reggie Hearn came here as a walk-on and developed into one of the team’s main scorers. When he fouled out, he received a standing ovation.

“I was a little pissed off, so I didn’t give a lot of credence to it,” Hearn said.

“I was thinking about how we could pull it out. I’m sure I would have appreciated it more if it had been on a good note. I appreciate the fans’ support. I will realize it later.”

Marcotullio on Carmody: “Preparing us to win, he’s done an unbelievable job. Coach put us in a situation to win. We just have to make plays. Unfortunately, we didn’t. He deserves high praise for the job he’s done.”

Hearn on Carmody: “I agree with Al. System coach had in place allowed us to compete in Big Ten with more athletic, bigger teams. Without Jershon (Cobb) and Drew (Crawford), we were 4-6 before Swop (Jared Swopshire) went down. Adjusting to all the injuries we had, I thought he did a good job.”

The Cats have not won a game since Swopshire went down, and they’ll be heavy underdogs at #11 Michigan State Sunday. They’ll also be dogs in whomever they play in the Big Ten Tourney where the Wildcats will likely be the #11 seed.

So if this is it for Carmody, let the speculation about his replacement begin. And it starts with Duke Blue Devils assistant and NorthShore native Chris Collins, son of former Chicago Bulls coach and current Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins. Whether Collins is really interested in the job or not…depends on who you talk to.

Collins to NU buzz started around this time last year. According to the Chicago Sun-Times:

Collins would be an attractive hire. He has 12 ­seasons under coach Mike Krzyzewski and understands the high academic standards of a school like NU.

Also, Duke athletic director ­Kevin White has been Phillips’ mentor since their days at Notre Dame and Arizona State.

And the Collins buzz is back this year. About two weeks ago I found this on CBS Chicago:

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins, the father of Chris and winner of more than 800 games as an NBA head coach, told the Duke Chronicle this month that, “Chris is a better coach than me.” And If that’s true, then Northwestern should fire Carmody today and offer Chris a job. If it does, the Wildcats might even end up with a notable assistant coach someday.

“I think my dream would be for Chris to become a head coach,” Doug Collins also told the Duke Chronicle. “And I don’t know if it could ever happen, because it might be too much pressure, but I would love to be his assistant.”

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, a Google News site generating millions of visitors. He also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter and Yardbarker

A Fulbright scholar, author and MBA, Banks has appeared on the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB)

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